Feb 062018

Here’s a shorter video, cropped for your booster-landing pleasure:

And because why not, here’s some recent test flight footage of the Bell V-280 Valor tilt-rotor, complete with some curious blurring of the nacelles for some mysterious reason:

And lest y’all think I’m unfairly focusing too much attention on American achievements today… here’s a map of Europe.

 Posted by at 5:07 pm
Feb 062018

SpaceX is currently livestreaming a series of videos being beamed back from the roadster, heading off into space. It’s already a good distance from Earth, with the result being some damn fine images. I do wonder how long this will last. It’s already far further away than I would have thought possible with a  meager GoPro transmitter that they usually use on space launches. Is it battery powered? Does it have solar panels? it would be really interesting to check back in on the roadster every few months to see what the rigors of spaceflight do the the paint and bodywork. Eventually you’d probably see the windshield get pitted, maybe even blown out in meteoroid impacts; the paint trashed by UV and thermal cycling, plastic, fiberglass, rubber, carbon fiber bits turning to mush and fluff.



 Posted by at 3:39 pm
Feb 062018

The Falcon 9 Heavy flight went off seemingly without a hitch (as I write this it’s not yet clear if the core booster landed right on the barge EDIT: Whoopsie, the core smacked into the water near the barge at a stately 300 miles per hour due to a failure to ignite two of the three braking rockets). But the two boosters landing simultaneously, side by side… that is hands down no BS the coolest, awesomest, most hopeful thing I’ve ever seen. I’m beyond jealous of the people who work at SpaceX.

How awesome is this? It’s all the awesome. Give it up, Star Wars. There’s no awesome left for you.

Now would be the time for trump to get on live TV and say, in effect, “USA! USA! USA! This is what free men in a free market can do. It’s hyuuuge. It’s beyootiful. And I’m’a gonna take all the moneys the US current sends overseas and instead will pay SpaceX to launch a Trump Casino And Resort to Velles Marinaris.”

 Posted by at 2:07 pm
Feb 062018

Just a few hours from the launch window for the first test launch of the Falcon 9 Heavy, the highest payload capacity launcher since Energia. All goes well, at 1:30 3:15 3:45 PM eastern (11:30 AM 1:15 1:45 PM Mountain), the F9H will lift off from the same pad that launched Apollo 11. Giggity! The live stream of the launch will be carried in the YouTube window below.


 Posted by at 9:23 am
Jan 312018

A fanciful late 1950’s Martin Company illustration of a space station. This rendering features a large parabolic solar reflector to concentrate sunlight onto a boiler to run a turbogenerator for electricity, a hockey-puck shaped habitation section (you might think it was meant to rotate, but there are windows in the floor *and* a group of astronauts seemingly standing on the side of the thing, somehow not getting flung off), some standard 1950’s gee-whiz rocketships and something at far right that I can only describe as “a thing.” Maybe it’s meant to represent the radiator for the solar generators working fluid, but if so, it seems a terrible design. Maybe it’s the death ray.

 Posted by at 5:04 am
Jan 232018

Currently winging their way from Ukraine to yours truly are two vintage brochures on the Antonov 225. These were picked up on ebay, purchases made possible by patrons of the APR Patreon. These brochures will in due course end up on the APR Patreon catalog, to be voted for as possible monthly rewards for the patrons.

If you’re interested in helping to preserve this sort of aerospace artifact, and also interested in getting high-rez scans of them, consider signing on to the APR Patreon.


 Posted by at 6:40 pm
Jan 222018

Some while back I tried to rationalize the size of the Orville based on a cutaway shown on bridge displays. I did a serviceable job, IMO, given the data at hand… and with the caveat that going in I *knew* the diagram as shown to be wrong. Following that I was waiting for the “World of Orville” book, hoping it would come right out and say how big the ship was. When i heard that it gave no such dimensions, I was disappointed. This morning, however, I found out that the book has a scaled diagram of the bridge. And since the bridge is visible from the outside of the ship, I re-scaled the ship. Here’s what I used:

My assumption here is that the ellipse of the bridge dome is essentially the same dimensions as the ellipse of the bridge “footprint” shown in the diagram. The bridge ellipse is about 48.4 feet long, per the diagram. The bridge ellipse on my model is 6.72 mm long. The ship model as a whole is 240.1 mm long. So if 6.72 mm = 48.4 feet, then 240.1 mm = 1729 feet, or 527 meters. This is substantially bigger than the 337 meters I’d previously estimated, but it does mesh a whole lot better with what’s seen on screen.

1/350 scale: 59.3 inches
1/1000: 20.75 inches
1/1400: 14.8 inches
1/2500: 8.3 inches

Clearly, the proper scale for this model is 1/350. But that might wind up being a bit on the spendy size. So… who agrees with my assessment? Who disagrees? What scale y’all want?

 Posted by at 1:34 pm
Jan 192018

There are those in NASA who have had the crazy idea that maybe, just maybe, NASA should live up to its mandate and actually move outwards into the cosmos. In order to do that, you need power, and until magic comes along, nuclear power is best power. Yesterday there was a media event in support of the “Kilopower” initiative to develop one-to-ten kilowatt nuclear power reactors. Given that the SP-100 project to develop 100 kilowatt reactors began on the order of 40 years ago, one kilowatt seems kinda unaggressive…but given that right now the United States has *no* kilowatt reactors under development for space power… I’ll take it.



 Posted by at 6:51 pm